Noises off: The character tests and plot twists of the General Election campaign

07 June 2017 | by Mark Lawson


In every general election, characters are tested, plots are twisted and the outcome is never quite what was expected. But the 2017 campaign has proved more dramatic than most / By Mark Lawson

It’s often said derisively of politicians that they need to get out more. But there is a strong case that in this election campaign, leading figures in the Conservative Party would have benefited from spending more nights at home.

If Theresa May and her key aides had closely watched Line of Duty, Unforgotten and Broadchurch, they would surely not have made the mistake of calling an early general election that turned out to be far from the uncontested, reputation-enhancing procession they had anticipated. Comparisons are made between politics and drama, not just because lines spoken in pursuit of votes are frequently fictional, but also because of the emphasis from campaign managers on the significance to the outcome of two concepts that derive from fiction: character and narrative.

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